Iran News Round Up

The Iran News Round Up ran from February 2009-September 2018. Visit the Iran File for the latest analysis.

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Mehrdad Moarefian and Marie Donovan, with contributors Chris Rawlins, Diana Timmerman and Warren Marshall. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online

Key takeaway: The Supreme Leader restated his call for Islamic unity. Hossein Amir Abdollahian underscored Iran’s commitment to Palestine. Iran and the US will hold talks on January 14 ahead of resumption of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations on January 18. 

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated his call for the Islamic world to unite against attempts to divide it, saying that “unity is the most important matter in the Islamic world.” Khamenei said that “America and the arrogance of the capitalist world” are “not Iran’s enemies, not just Shi’a enemies, [but] the enemies of Islam.” He highlighted Iran’s aid to its “Sunni brothers” as evidence of its living out this “message.”  Khamenei has repeatedly emphasized the need for unity among Islamic countries since the establishment of the Islamic State.  President Rouhani echoed the Supreme Leader’s message, censuring those who commit unjust acts of violence in the name of Islam as spreading Islamophobia.

Hossein Amir Abdollahian met with a Hamas delegation and said Iran’s support for Palestine is its top foreign policy priority, following IRGC Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi’s echoing the Supreme Leader’s call to “arm the West Bank like Gaza” on Wednesday.  

Iran and Russia are set to hold bilateral nuclear talks in Tehran next week. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet in Geneva on January 14 ahead of the resumption of talks with the P5+1 on January 18.


Official Statements

  • Khamenei implored Islamic world to unite against enemy’s divisive plots. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed the 28th Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran. Khamenei attributed regional crises to the lack of unity in the Islamic world and said:
    • “In the Islamic world, knowledge, science, and morality are important. However, the one that is key and the priority today in the Islamic world is unity, we Muslims have become really distant from one another, and politics has been, unfortunately, successful in this field, separating Muslims. We are in need of unity.”
    • “In all struggles we should be seen at each other’s sides [united], been seeing together will have an effect. The heads of Muslim countries talk against each other albeit it is only talk; it still emboldens the enemy and gives the enemy hope.”
    • “If we stand together, Islamic countries, Muslim nations, Sunnis and Shi’as and various sects… See what will happen in the world…”
    • “Today in the world there are hands at work to create division among Sunnis and Shi’as, these hands, if you search, you will see that at the center is the intelligence of the enemies of Islam. Not Iran's enemies, not just Shi’ite enemies, the enemies of Islam. Those Shi’as that have relations with England’s MI6, those Sunnis that are hired by America’s CIA, they are neither Shi’a, nor Sunni; both are enemies of Islam.”
    • “We in the Islamic Republic have been shouting this message for 35 years; we don’t just talk, we act. The assistance that the Islamic Republic has given to its brothers in the Islamic world until today has often been given to [our] Sunni brothers.”
    • “We have stood by Palestine’s side; we have stood next to the faithful people of the region, because we knew unity is the most important matter in the Islamic world. I recommend, I urge the leaders, intellectual, politicians of the Islamic world, do not split the tail and be divisive.”
    • “A number of people are spending money to destroy the image of Islam and to spread fear in the world, and then we face each other and try to destroy each other… This is contrary to wisdom and policy.”
    • “I hear that some regional governments base their foreign policy on the basis to challenge Iran, why?  This is contrary to wisdom, reason and is stupid.”
    • “Why would an individual make such a major mistake? We on the contrary have based our foreign policy on friendship and brotherhood and relations with all neighboring and non-neighboring Muslim countries of the region, it is our policy. This is how we have acted and will continue to act in the future.”
    • “The interest of the enemy is to take us apart, to attack one country and recruit a new one to [secure] the best interests of the enemy. Who is the enemy? America and the arrogance of the capitalist world, mainly America and the Zionists. The Zionist state in occupied Palestine is part of a series of dangers and deadly cancer created by the Zionists of the world; we need to stand against them.” (


  • Rouhani: Iran stands with those who oppose terrorism. President Hassan Rouhani echoed the Supreme Leader’s call for Islamic unity and said that those who unjustly commit acts of violence in the name of Islam are spreading extremism and Islamophobia. Rouhani added: “The Islamic Republic as always stands with all nations against terrorism.” (Mehr News)


  • MP Hardliner reiterates his message in response to President Rouhani’s January 4 speech. Head of the Parliament’s Principilist faction Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said officials need to make the right decision for the country. While addressing the fifth meeting on the Conservative Coalition, the MP and father-in-law to the Supreme Leader’s son Mojtaba said “Conservatives today...must be unified; the country’s situation today is different than in the past, the factors that we had on the table then which we based our decisions on are different today and we must make our decisions commensurate with the situation today.” (Tasnim News Agency)   


  • Ayatollah Jannati claims enemy plots underway for next year’s Parliamentary elections.Guardian Council Secretary Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said, “The enemy wants individuals who are not opposed to excessive arrogance to enter this parliament.” The Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader added that the plans of the enemy are to weaken the people’s faith and beliefs, as well as the economy, in order to deter the country from achieving its nuclear technology aspirations. (Fars News Agency)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Abdollahian: “Iran has never lost sight of the support for Palestine or the resistance movements.” Hossein Amir Abdollahian met with Jamal Issa, member of the political bureau of Hamas and head of the delegation visiting Iran. The Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister stated that Iran’s support for Palestine is one of the achievements of the Islamic Republic and its top foreign policy priority. Abdollahian stressed that Iran will use its full capacity to support the Palestinian resistance movements against threats from Israel. (IRNA)
  • Khatami: We condemn the Paris terrorist attack. Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami condemned the terrorist attack in Paris and accused the US and the West of providing financial and political support for terrorist groups. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Haghighat Pour: The passing of the Saudi king means nothing to us without a change in Riyadh’s policy. National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission Vice Chairman Mansour Haghighat Pour said the death of Saudi King Abdullah would mean nothing for Iran-Saudi Arabia relations unless Riyadh stops its support for terrorism and attempts to leverage low oil prices against Tehran. (Mehr News )


Nuclear Talks

  • Zarif and Kerry to meet in Geneva, Iran and Russia to hold bilateral nuclear talks in Tehran. Abbas Araghchi said that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov will arrive in Tehran on Monday. The International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister announced that US Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet in Geneva on January 14. Araghchi added that Iranian and American negotiators will hold bilateral talks prior to the P5+1 nuclear negotiations on January 18. (ISNA)
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